At the cookout, 70 guests sampled a buffet of corn-on-the-cob, potato wedges, Japanese slaw and candy apples. In true Southern style, giant turkey drumsticks were also on the menu. International students stared at them in disbelief.
"How am I supposed to eat this?" asked one student. Another bravely carved into the meat with a knife and fork.
"Go ahead and pick it up," Mrs. Barbara Meadors urged. "It's more fun that way."
Some of the international students had other ideas about American cuisine.
"I'm going to be a typical American and eat everything with ketchup," said Katrin Langst, an exchange student from Germany.
When asked about the enormous smoked turkey legs, cafeteria manager Mike Nance said, "I had to do a lot of hunting for them."
Japan, Korea, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Ukraine and many other countries were represented.
"This is an annual event for these really special student groups on our campus," Chancellor Meadors said. "It's a very interesting and diverse group of students, some from as far away as Pembroke and others from Asia and Russia."
Located at the southern edge of UNCP's campus, the Chancellor's Residence hosts numerous students, parents and other visitors. This event had a unique fall flavor.
Sponsored in part by University Relations, Associate Director Scott Bigelow was on hand to explain the American invention of marshmallows to Yuriy Podvysotskiy, a Ukrainian exchange student.
"I did not do a very good job, but think about it - what is a marshmallow?" Bigelow said. "After I explained it, Yuriy asked me if we grow them around here."
As night fell, students sat around the campfire with bags of marshmallows. For some, this was their first marshmallow-roasting experience.
"I like it. It's sweet. I like sweets," said Elizabeth Fleckhammer from Germany.
"The students really had a great time with the campfire and the candy apples," said Bigelow. "I have to thank Mrs. Meadors for hosting the event and planning the evening so nicely."
Director of International Student Life, Beth Carmical, said she was pleased to see so many American students stay well into the evening to help exchange students with the art of marshmallow roasting.
"It's something we take for granted, but for first timers, it's both puzzling and fun," she said. "I think some of our visitors had a hard time believing it was pure sugar and that people really eat it when it's burned to a crisp."